What to know about Vocal Schools
Vocal schools in Toronto are experiencing a major decline in enrolment as the province struggles to balance its education budget and other key factors like the province’s aging population.
The University of Toronto’s (UT’s) Music School is also experiencing an enrolment decline and the Toronto-based National University of Arts and Sciences is also struggling to find students.
But there is a major difference between the two.
The University of Ottawa’s music school is in a much better place than many of the other schools in the province, and the University of British Columbia is in much better shape.
“We’re not in an absolute crisis.
We’re definitely seeing a decline,” said Dr. David Rood, an associate professor in the department of music at U of O. “But it’s still an important part of the university.”
The Music School has struggled to find new students and it is still a minority in terms of the number of students enrolled.
The majority of students from the Music School’s undergraduate program attend the U of T, which is the largest student body in Canada.
“There are still a lot of students, but we are trying to find them,” said Rood.
“And I think that’s a positive sign.”
However, the music school’s enrolment is declining as well, and it has to rely on donations from students who do not complete their courses.
The university’s administration is also working to find ways to attract and retain students, especially after last year’s major cuts to funding and student services.
“We need to have a plan,” said the dean of the Music Studies department, James Brown.
“How do we attract students to the music program?
How do we retain them?
How can we make it more efficient for them?
There’s a lot going on.”
The decline in enrollment is not limited to the Music Student Centre.
At the University College, where the Music Institute is located, the enrollment is down by about 30 per cent, as is the Music College, which has a large student body.
“At the University, our enrolment has been declining for several years now,” said Associate Dean of Arts Andrew Miller.
“The University College of Music is actually the second largest music school in the world.
They have a very small student body.”
The University is also trying to increase enrollment through a new program, which was announced last year, that is aimed at increasing the number and diversity of faculty, staff and students.
“They are looking at expanding the Faculty of Music, so that it is more diverse and they can be more responsive to the student population,” said Miller.
Miller said the Faculty is also recruiting and training students, and that the University has a long-term plan for its music programs.
“The Faculty is in the process of looking at ways to get more people involved with the music programs,” said Brown.
The new plan also involves increasing the amount of staff and student housing, and Miller said that will help keep enrolment up and student numbers up.
“I think the whole approach to music is about making sure that our music is being played and heard and heard by people who are interested in it,” said Butler.
“To be a good university, you have to make sure that your music is heard.”